What is the birthstone for December? The correct question would in fact be, what are the birthstones for December? There are overall 9 birthstones of December, the twelfth and last month of the year. How much do you know all the different December birthstones? Here we explore the nine types of December birthstone.
- Modern: Turquoise & Tanzanite
- Alternate-US: Zircon & Blue Topaz
- Traditional: Bloodstone, Ruby, Zircon & Lapis Lazuli
- Ancient: Ruby, Turquoise & Chrysoprase
- Tibetan: Onyx
- Indian: Cat’s eye
If cold December gave you birth,
The month of snow and ice and mirth,
Place on your hand a turquoise blue;
Success will bless whate’er you do.
— Gregorian birthstone poem
Turquoise is traditionally the birthstone for December, and remains the December birthstone in modern gemology. The gemstone was an ancient birthstone of December from as far back as the old Polish and Russian calendar. Before the gemstone entered these ancient calendars as December gemstone, turquoise was a zodiac stone for Sagittarius, which falls partly on the month of December. This gemstone for December is a rare opaque stone that occurs in colors ranging from blue to green. The December stone is believed to relieve mental tension and increase luck.
Zircon was traditionally the birthstone for December, and remains the December birthstone in modern U.S. gemology, after the gemstone replaced lapis lazuli in 1952. While zircon occurs in a rainbow of colors, the variety of the transparent gemstone most popularly accepted as the December stone is the blue zircon. The December gemstone is believed to bring peace of mind and prosperity.
Tanzanite is a modern birthstone for December, having been added as America’s December birthstone only in 2002, while already recognized as December gemstone in Britain by the time. This stone for December itself is a relatively recent discovery, having been found only in 1967 in Tanzania, hence the name tanzanite. The December stone is a transparent gemstone ranging in color from blue to purple.
Lapis lazuli is traditionally a birthstone for December. This December birthstone is also the planetary stone of Capricorn, which falls partly on the month of December. Lapis lazuli was a modern birthstone of December in the United States of America until February of 2013, when the American Gem Trade Association replaced the gemstone with zircon as December stone.
Lapis lazuli is an opaque deep-blue gemstone mottled with yellow and white. This gemstone for December is believed to heighten awareness, expand perspective, and free a person of negativity. See also Lapis Lazuli: Stone of Purity.
Topaz is the birthstone for December in the Hindu calendar, and is also listed as modern December birthstone in the West, though there the gemstone’s variety specifically designated to be birthstone of December is the blue topaz. This transparent stone for December is a silicate mineral of aluminum and fluorine. The December gemstone is believed to increase both physical and spiritual strength.
Ruby is the ancient birthstone for December in the old Arabic, Hebrew, Italian, Roman and Indian (Ayurvedic) calendar. Before the gemstone landed on these ancient calendars as December birthstone, ruby was the zodiac stone for Capricorn, which falls partly on the month of December. This birthstone of December is the red variety of corundum, which would otherwise be called sapphire in another color. The December stone is believed to strengthen the mind and bestow courage.
Chrysoprase is a birthstone for December in the old Russian calendar. This December birthstone is a variety of chalcedony ranging in color from apple green to deep green. The December gemstone is believed to enhance emotional balance and prevent depression.
Onyx is the birthstone for December in the old Tibetan calendar. This December birthstone is also the zodiac stone for Capricorn, as well as the zodiac sign’s talismanic stone. Onyx is a banded chalcedony of black and white, though black is the December stone’s most popular color. This birthstone of December is a grounding stone believed to protect its wearer from negativity. See also The Black Onyx: Stone of Power.
Bloodstone, also known as heliotrope, is a traditional birthstone for December from as far back as the 15th century. This December birthstone is a green variety of chalcedony sprinkled with red inclusions, commonly red jasper. The December gemstone is believed to enhance courage as well as physical strength.
December Birthstone Color
What color is December birthstone? The December birthstone color is rather obvious. Turquoise, the oldest birthstone of December, is blue. Tanzanite, the newest birthstone for December, can also be blue. Topaz, in order to be made December stone, was specified to be blue. Lapis Lazuli is blue, while chrysoprase is very near blue. The birthstone color for December is undoubtedly blue.
Of course, there are the non-conventional birthstones for December, ruby and onyx, adds red and black to the birthstone colors for December, along with green, the color of chrysoprase and often turquoise. Still, blue is the color of December birthstone widely accepted in modern gemology.
Featured image credit: Turquoise ring by Mauro Cateb via Wikimedia Commons